San Antonio (Texas) Express-News: Distracted driving is a growing hazard on Texas roadways and has prompted 26 Texas cities, including San Antonio, to impose their own bans on texting while driving.
The Texas House approved a state texting ban on a 98-47 vote before sending it to the Senate for consideration. Unfortunately, the legislation may be dead on arrival when it reaches the governor’s desk for signature.
Gov. Rick Perry, who has the services of a state-paid chauffeur at his disposal, does not support the legislation and vetoed a similar bill in 2011. He appears poised to do the same again despite the passage of dozens of local ordinances banning texting while driving which indicate widespread grass-roots support for such a measure.
Perry’s primary opposition to the legislation has been concern about government infringing on personal liberties and micromanaging people’s lives. He believes the best way to address the issue is through information and education. Other opponents of the bill are concerned about civil liberties and are afraid the legislation could be used for racial profiling and give law enforcement officers too much probable cause to pull over motorists.
The legislation proposed by state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, would allow the use of hands-free and voice activated devices. It would also allow drivers to use the phone to select or enter a telephone number when driving.
Texas is in dire need of a statewide ban.